Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Being a recovering bulimic is a pain in the ass.

We arrived home in Boston today and I felt relief: to be home, where my mail is and bills are, where my dog's bed is and mine, where I can sit in the kitchen and know where every utensil belongs. It was nice to be home. After unpacking the car and starting laundry, Heather and I sat down to exchange more gifts and then started on bills and receipts while enjoying a glass of Cab (thank you neighbors). I called USCIS for a status update... not much progress. We prepped dinner and ate (thank you Cinny for enchiladas). And then I fell apart.

I was planning to enjoy a chocolate after dinner. Cinny bought us a box of white and milk assorted chocolates from See's. Lovely. Except there were peanuts and I'm allergic. So no chocolate. Big deal, right? Wrong. See, in the middle of leaving home (Georgia) and not sleeping and having a cold and having, as Heather correctly named it an "emotional attachment" to food, I began to cry. And not just crocodile tears...sobs. And I find myself, 30+mins later, still on the verge of tears.

I don't know if food would solve this problem. 80 lost pounds later I presume food, especially dessert, would not solve this problem. I'm tired. My body is worn down with a two-month old cold. And, most of all, I'm hurting. I left my family yesterday and I miss them already. It always happens like this- a few days of deep sadness post-leaving. Five years later, I'm still not good at leaving them. I buck and cry and cry and buck. Big kid.

Tonight was primed by leaving and triggered by food. Food, especially dessert, is my trigger. Rich cheesecake and gooey chocolate. Whipped cream. Ice cream. Cake. They remind me of home. Of comfort. Of caring. Of hands that baked and dished. Those that shared with me. Of nights alone when they didn't and I recreated alone. Baking and dishing and eating. Comforted.

A non-bulimic can't understand why it's such a big issue. Why I can't get over it or eat something else. A non-bulimic can't understand that in my head I've already made a decision (whether conscious or unconscious) to replace my feelings with "X", whether "X" is a See's chocolate or a cupcake or brownie or ice-cream. The choice and substitution has been made. Done. And when the substitution fails, then there's this emptiness. A desperation that begins because there's nothing to hold on to, to be comforted by. And a replacement doesn't work. If a See's chocolate = sublimated grief then how can a Hershey's kiss replace it just because it's there? If a replacement were an option it would have to be chosen. I have to choose to sublimate my grief with a "See's chocolate" or "Hershey's kiss". The grief is too important just to be replaced by whatever is available.

Then when I realize there's no replacement, that a See's chocolate is it or bust, I collapse. Cry in pieces on Heather's lap. Deep sobs. Whether for the grief of leaving or the grief of not eating chocolate I don't know. They're now one and the same. And I'm lost. No family. No chocolate. No replacement.

I'm sure this sounds crazy to the reader. It's a little crazy for me- now nearly 12 years since I first became bulimic- it's still crazy. And I'm writing it out so it's not in my head- alone. And because when I'm writing, I'm not eating. Or drinking. And though this is shameful, it's a better solution than feeding (literally) this demon that's a little crazy. A little shameful. And very real. Still, five years since my recovery began. Still very real.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


that's what I'm trying to find- in the midst of too little sleep, menstruation, and work. I have a vacation next week (a staycation in reality) and I'm hoping to find my energy then.

Part of it is a logistics problem. For a while I was too busy at work to think about extra energy. It was work, home, dog walk, sleep, work...Pretty boring and very exhausting. Now October is over and my first two schools are done for teaching (only two more to go this semester-yay!). Now I'm transitioning into the winter of the year and trying to recapture my spring energy. Really, things go so much easier for me in the spring- exercise and weight loss. I have less issue with motivation. Right now, I want to hibernate and eat baked goods, but it's really having a toll on my psyche and, I think, my energy. Which, if you follow the pattern around: hibernate, baked goods, sugar crash, no energy, hibernate, baked goods, sugar crash, no energy... doesn't lead to anything positive. And, my Nike MiniMe is creaming at me to go for a run; it's been a week. But I have no motivation to do it. I know, I should just stop this typing and run my ass to the treadmill. It's not going to happen though. 1 homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffin and a half-caf for breakfast and I'm toast. Stupid decision. And I agonized over it for at least 45minutes...

So, this post is supposed to get me mentally psyched up. There's a race on Dec 13th in Somerville. It's only a 5k, but it would be a good run to work towards. It's $30 though and I can't sign up for that until the next paycheck hits. So...until then, here's a few steps to get me going.

1. Get girlfriend on board. Done. As I was typing this step, Heather called to say she loves me. :) That's the best call ever. And, we talked about training together for Dec 13th. Girlfriend is officially on board!

2. Nike Running Coach. Logging on I have a pang of guilt. My last run was 10/27- over 10 days ago. No wonder my MiniMe is pitching a fit every time my screensaver logs on. Ok, time to sign on to A Coach J Intermediate 5K training program. START DATE: THURS NOV 12th!

3. Public Commitment. Does typing all of this count? I think I'm on board and now you know it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reunion with Be-Ro

That's what happened tonight. It was the least dramatic reunion I've ever been too- no tears, no past grudges, no memories of ill-worn fashion. Just pure joy. Fond times. Sweet memories. Savored (and savory) moments.

Are you the least bit interested yet? Well, if not, quit reading, because for the next 10 minutes I'm going to share my evening with you. You, me and the Be-Ro book.

Yes, that's right. I typed it. The Be-Ro book. Now, for those non-British folks out there you likely have no clue what I'm talking about; unless of course you're married to one of us OR you've spent some time in the old country immersing yourself in "the culture" (you Anglophiles you!). No matter, I'll introduce you to my old friend the Be-Ro book, who tonight was rescued from the dusty space between Martha Stewart and Delia Smith, almost lost but never forgotten.

The Be-Ro Flour Home Recipe 40th Edition is my version of heaven. Granted, I have a penchant for anything cakey, creamy, jammy, and sweet. It's not my fault; I was born and bred and remain a Brit. We're designed to love stodgy puddings and jam and cream-filled sponge cakes. But it doesn't stop there. I also have a taste for cheesey pastries, crumbly scones, salty pies and (soy) sausages in batter. Mmmm. Vegetarian toad in the hole. Delish.

Since 1923, the Be-Ro cookery book has brought common recipes back to the common (wo)man. For almost 2-years, since my last move, Be-Ro and I have been separated. Sadly out of sight but not out of mind, as I've imagined savory cheese scones, jam tarts, and Victoria sponge cakes. But how to make those recipes? Separated from the Be-Ro book I could no longer remember the measures of flour to sugar. The oven temperatures or dish to timing ratio. I could no longer recall how I'd once baked such delights; the staple dishes and Sunday tea treats of my upbringing. That is, until tonight.

Tonight I called my mum for a recipe: Quiche Lorraine. One of many recipes she excels at.( I should also mention her rice pudding, lasagna, and British-style pancakes. Scrumptious.) With a day off work ahead of me tomorrow and a group of guests arriving for dinner on Wednesday evening at 7pm (after a full work day ending at 6pm), I decided to do what any well-educated young English-woman would do: make quiche. Additionally, a weekend sale on eggs and cheese make for ideal timing.

Quiche Lorraine. For years I've enjoyed multiple versions: Broccoli and Cheese, Cheese and Onion, Ham and Cheese (in the old meat-eating days), Sweetcorn. There have been mixed vegetable versions, chicken n' cheddar, and herbed-only platters. Served at the golf club Christmas parties, summer picnics, Brit-reunions. Quiche fits any occasion and most palates. However, for all of my enjoyment, I realised this evening, I've never made quiche. So I called my mother for a recipe.

"You'll not like this," she said. "You just have to experiment. I don't use a recipe." No recipe? Really? All those years of quiche and no recipe? How did she learn and why hadn't I yet? I was panicked. "It's a shortcrust pastry," she began. "Shortcrust? How do I make shortcrust pastry?" I didn't know where to start and here's my mum talking like I'm already apart of the shortcrust-pastry baking club.

"It's in the Be-Ro book?" Be-Ro book. Be-Ro book. Where is that book? I stood paralyzed in the middle of the kitchen until it hit me. The bookshelf. (I swear it wasn't that obvious. We have 2 built-in and 2 free-standing bookshelves in this house-all full of books upon books. It's easy to get lost in them.)

And then I found it. The Be-Ro cookery book. Blue. A little tousled at the corners from use. A sticky cover. And full of sweet, sweet, savored (and savory) memories. Welsh griddle scones like my Granny used to make on Friday evenings upon my visits after school. Toad in the hole- my Dad's go-to end-of-the-week dish for my brother and I. Jam tarts filled with tart raspberry and lemon sugars. The same pastries I carried as a child for the local Salmon Queen festival's costume competition. I went as the Queen of Hearts based on a childhood rhyme,

"The Queen of Hearts,
she made some tarts,
all on a summer's day.
The Knave of Hearts,
he stole the tarts,
and ate them right away"

I didn't win the competition, but loved baking the jam and lemon curd tarts with my mum and offering them up to neighbors and festival-goers.

There were more recipes: cheese scones (a Mum-favorite), Highlanders (melt-in-your-mouth shortbread biscuits), cheese straws (a party favorite), vol-au-vents (adult dinner hors d'ouevres), sausage rolls (recently perfected as a vegetarian version by my mother), currant buns (often made by my brother and I on weekend afternoons), chocolate swiss roll (a childhood favorite and special treat only), yorkshire puddings (a Sunday dinner side to Beef or Turkey). With each recipe came a new memory, a smile, an appreciation for family and food.

I assume that Be-Ro and I will be spending some quality time together over the next few weeks. I have a list of recipes I want to bake. Vegetarian versions I'm excited to try. An experiment in British cookery in New England. I can't wait. Will King Arthur's flour hold up to Be-Ro? I'm unsure, but it's a welcome (and potentially delicious) challenge.

I write this all after returning to WW tonight for the first time in 5-weeks. I remained the same weight I left at. During my 5 week absence I ate in response to my body, including my needs and my cravings. I didn't worry about the scale, and I was successful.

I add this afterword about WW not to dampen the mood, nor to suggest that all eating winds up being about WW. For me, it doesn't and hasn't in practice. But I add this afterword to highlight that you can be a foodie and lose weight. You can be a foodie and maintain. You can enjoy food and the good memories of food and have struggled with weight and weight-loss. It's all about balance- and listening.

I noted at my WW meeting this evening that I've made it through almost another 10-months of WW and 30lbs of weight-loss by learning one simple skill: listening. I'm not good at it yet, but I'm practicing. This whole journey is about listening to myself. To the cravings. To the memories. To the hunger. To the pain with injury. To the tiredness. To the stress. To the feelings. It's about listening and trying to respond to myself in the most positive way possible- even if that means some nights I'm eating take-out so I can come home, eat, not wash a dish and go to bed. Other days it means healthy habits- drinking lots of water, going for that run, weighing portions, eating leafy greens, passing up the caffeine from Starbucks. Whatever the case, it's about listening. It's staying in that extra 30minutes in bed. Saying no to another project. It's crying and laughing and spending time with friends if I need to. This journey is about the whole me. The fat kid. The good British food. The love of baking and the love of eating. And, through listening to and respecting all of those parts of me, I can make this work.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I may almost be a real vegetarian...

I'm at a training on the Champlain Islands in Vermont for the next 2 days and on the way up tonight, I stopped in Burlington for dinner (per recommendation of the organizers). Apparently, the villages on the Islands are pretty empty of dinner choices.

So, I looked up a few restaurants over the weekend with the thought that I'd be better prepared. I was. I found a wonderful place- Shanty on the Shore, serving up the best seafood in Burlington. I ordered shrimp and scallop gnocchi (the only two non-vegetarian fare I enjoy- and mainly so I can eat out restaurants) with sundried tomatoes (a favorite of mine). The dish looked great. I dived into the gnocchi- cooked to potato pasta perfection. I then continued to try a scallop- broiled, succulent. And then a shrimp- again broiled, not as succulent. I made it through one more scallop and one more shrimp before I began to gag. They were so fleshy, so meaty. Fishy.

I couldn't eat any more seafood. I nibbled on a couple of gnocchi and then seceded. My gut just couldn't take it.

This is not the first time I've experienced the seafood-squirm. After a few too many days of eating shrimp on our trip to GA I began to gag. Eating too large scallop. Too large shrimp. I'm better when I stick to the small ones.

Does this mean I'm going to have to give up seafood? Say bye-bye to shrimp and scallops- the last bastion and monument to my carnivorous days?

At this point, I'm not sure. But, I'm not thrilled with the idea of eating seafood again any time soon. I'll stick to soy.

Start as you mean to go on.

I was on a writing roll there for a few days, but unfortunately was sidetracked. Went to WW last week at lost 1.6lbs. Not too bad though I'd had a little up (1.4lbs over the 2 weeks prior). Still, this is a journey not a race.

I do have a race this weekend though- a 10k trail run in Lynn. Heather's going to run it with me. She was supposed to do a run-bike duathlon a the same location, but had a small incident with a razor this weekend resulting in stitches in her thumb. The doc said no biking for 10 days so the pressure of her hand on the handlebars doesn't rip out the stitches, but running is fine.

So after a slow start this morning (I slept in as am traveling to VT for work and apparently have "homework" for my conference tonight), I motivated myself to go for a 3 mile run. While I'd like to say the motivation came from race prep for this upcoming weekend- it didn't . Truthfully, my motivation was my Nike Run avatar (I call her mini-me). See I downloaded the Nike avatar screensaver to my laptop. It's a hoot. My little avatar pops up on the screen after a few minutes with one of two attitudes: "Yay I ran" or "Man I need to run". For the "Yay I ran" attitude she's jumping all around saying things like "This 3 mile run made me feel so good" or "I can conquer anything". But, when you're lazy for a couple of days out pops the "Man I need to run" 'tude. She sits around bemoaning life with comments like, "This lack of running is making me sluggish" or "I'd love to run, but my hands are tied".

And this little screensaver works for me. I want mini-me to be jumping around happy, excited, and proud of her exercise. So after waking up and playing with the dog, I clothed my ass in run gear and went out for a 3miler. It wasn't fast (10:40/mi avg pace) unlike my and Heather's Fri night 2 miler at a 9:48/mi avg pace. And today I was totally glad when I finished, but now sitting down to a hearty brunch (egg white, potatoes, and chikin patty- 5pts total!) I'm super pleased with myself.

And, the running gear is packed for (apparently) rainy VT, and I plan to sneak in 4-6miles over Tues and Weds, take Thurs off, run an easy 2 miler Fri, race the 6miler on Sat, and take Sun off. :)

So, onwards and upwards (at least in my mileage).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So we run...

and some days it's damned hard. Like today. That "easy 2 miler" I lightly quoted yesterday...yeah, it kicked my ass today. I managed no faster than a 10:53/mi pace (on my 4.25 miler I ran a 10:55/mil pace..with the extra miles added on).

Though I'm still running the distances I was earlier this summer, my pace has definitely suffered from my summer running vacation. I looked at my mileage on my Nike profile (find a link to it below) and realized that I ran only 2.9 miles for the entire month of August. Perhaps I'm making up for it by running two 10ks in October: the Down & Dirty 10k Trail Run (Oct 3rd by myself) and the Nike 10k Challenge (Oct 24th w/ Maureen). Now I'm on the lookout for November races to sign up for. I think it's keeps me moving better. Like today...

Nothing in my body wanted to run this morning. So I didn't. I laid in bed with a splitting headache and overslept. Nothing in my body wanted to run this afternoon. So I ran anyway. Why? Because this week I have to log a 1x4mi, 2x2mi, and 1x5mi runs (13 miles total). Why? Because I'm on a plan for the Oct 3rd race, in which I want to run well and not hurt myself. Also, I have to run more next week (1x4mi, 2 x 2mi, and 1x6mi runs - 14 miles total). And it increases from there. I'd like to get to 20mi/week on average, but am going to increase slowly, after the 10k/6mi, only by .5mi/week. I need no injuries!

Anyhow, I believe I may need to become a morning runner. This afternoon's run was hell. I hurt. It hurt. My mind wasn't in it and I was physically worn down from work stressors. I've been reading articles about when to run (Runners World, Running Times) and there's pluses and minuses to morning running. + It's done with. + You start the day focused on you. - More at risk of injury - I can't eat for an hour after waking due to my missing thyroid and replacement hormones = running on an empty stomach. Not good. I honestly think late morning would be best for me but who gets to go into work late that often? And, while I can mask a 2miler sweat, there's not hope for me after that. It's shower or bust, but my office is not equipped with a gym or shower facilities.

So, afternoon/evenings runs are supposedly the best for your body. You're physically geared up. But mentally? After a day at work I'm shot. Tired. No longer energized. Often feeling negative emotionally (read: mad, sad) or physically tired (read: been running around like crazy all day, or on my feet training) and it doesn't seem to translate well into a run.

I'm also into this idea of putting myself first: "get it on" style. There's something about fitting runs around my work schedule that gives work precedence. But I don't want work to be the defining piece of my life (though I do need to pay the bills).

So what to do? Well, at least I'm writing down the runs I want to do in my calendar, so I'm aware of them. I'm trying to x-out my "me time" in my calendar so that the runs have a place to live in my day-to-day.

And perhaps signing up for more races will help keep it at the forefront. Any one running a fun race in November?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And talking about dem' apples (an addendum)

I ran 4.25 miles this morning...and could've kept on going. Hell yeah! Bring on my easy 2miler tomorrow morning! :)

PS- I read in Runner's World this morning that for every 1lb you shed of excess weight that you can shave an average of 2.5secs off each mile you run. Another nice reason to lose another 10-20lbs...

How do you like dem' apples

1/2 pecks of gala apples were 77c/lb at Roche, so we had to get some. They looked delicious and there's something about the beginning of fall and bags of apples that go together.

And then there's baked apples. Or, specifically, baked apple treats. Really my relationship with apples is all about baked goods... or spicy mustard, good cheese, and crusty bread. Mmmmm. This is when I know I'm British- life still revolves around bread and cheese. Anyhow, today I'm home from work battling an on again-off again migraine-ish headache and have no desire to traipse my oversized rugby shirt-clad ass to the local cheese shop. So baked goods it is.

Here is my new recipe for apple streusel muffins (adapted from Elaine's Crunchy Apple Muffins, thank you Elaine!)

Apple Streusel Muffins
Makes 12; Approx 3 Weight Watchers points per muffin.

1 cup Quick Oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (sifted)
1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/4 cup white sugar
2tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (tho next time I may use allspice for the nutmeg kick)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tbsp fat-free sour cream
2 tbsp butter
2 cups Gala apples (chopped)

Streusel topping
1/4 cup Quick Oats
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp fat-free milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix.
3. Fold in apples. (I like to wait to cut the apples until after the dry and wet ingredients are mixed to prevent browning).
4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups (I spray my muffin tins with canola oil spray to avoid sticking)
5. Mix ingredients for streusel topping in a small bowl. Spoon approx,. 1/2 tsp of streusel topping onto each muffin.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for approx. 20 minutes.
7. Enjoy :)

My partner rated these a 4 out of 5 (she suggested adding the allspice next time and I, after taste testing, concur). Otherwise, they're moist and yummy. A nice afternoon snack for hungry tummies who love baked apple goodies. And at 3 points a muffin, why not?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Get it on...

The biggest woman ever weighed in on the biggest loser, Shay, just lost 17lbs her first week. Her weight loss represents a large chunk of the weight I have yet to lose. Shit...and Rebecca lost 18lbs. Okay, so I'm updating this in real time while watching the biggest loser. And I'm writing this entry because this first episode of the new season, along with my reflections in reading Runners' World's advice for fall running, has got me thinking.

I've been trying to live by the motto. "Do good enough". I like that motto, for work. But, it's not working for my personal weight/exercise life. I've been with Weight Watchers this year for about 33 weeks and I'm losing at an average of .7lbs/week. Which is decent and healthy. But it's slowing. This past week I put on 1.4lbs. And I know that up s and downs are a part of this journey. I'm okay with that. What I'm not okay with is how I'm feeling about this process right now.

I'm frustrated. I've seriously considered quitting WW. And why? Because I'm afraid of failing. I'm slowing down. I'm afraid of this end. That there won't be an end-that the end equals another journey.

So I've eaten whatever the hell I've wanted. I've lightened up on the exercise. I've given myself breaks. But though I've been conscious of my behavior I've continued to give myself hell- berated myself for my behavior. For slowing down. For putting on weight. But I've done this to myself.

Watching the Biggest Loser tonight I was taken back to 2005. Me at 248.6lbs. 5'5" and huge. Unable to breathe. Unable to walk without sweating. Desperate, depressed, and lonely. It was so easy to get there. Self-loathing, sad personal history, time to waste, feelings of helplessness, and food. Chinese food. Single serve store-bought cakes. Pie slices. 2 liters of wine on a Friday night watching TLC. 12 count chicken nuggets and large fries. No exercise. Depression. Vomiting. Self-loathing. Sadness. Personal history. Bulimia. Fear. Bad relationship- with myself and others. A spiral that was easy to go down and down and down.

I don't want to go there again- down that spiral. And I'm not ready to quit yet. This journey is not over- I know that. I've come far. Hell, at 169.4lbs this week I am still near that 80lb weight loss mark. That's huge. But I want more.... I want more. For me.

So, it's time to get it on... I'm gonna get this weight loss train racin' to that end. And I'm setting my goal at 148.6lbs. 100 lb loss. So it's about 21lbs to go.

And I'm gonna do it by shaking it up. Mind and matter have to go together. And right now, my mind's not playing with me. So I'm going to play with it. Shake it up. I've been "fitting in" exercise. "Fitting in" eating healthy to my nights out. This week we're going to turn it upside down. Get it on...

I'm gonna get it on in the morning. Exercise first. Day later.

I'm gonna get it on through the day. Eating well first. Treat later.

I'm gonna get it on... Love for me first. Others later.

I'm gonna get it on.

And at work, I'm gonna do good enough. Because I come first this game. And I'm gettin it on.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

it takes time...

I keep trying to remind myself- it takes time. And in between time I'm going to feel good, bad, ugly, and fantastic about it. This week it's ugly. At least, that's how I'm feeling about this whole program and where I'm in the middle of it.

8lbs to go until my first major goal...and I'm faltering. Emotionally. Physically. Mentally. I want to say that it's pissing me off and firing me up, but really it's just making me tired. And confused.

Do I think too much? I try to keep up with all the talk of "living into it". Hell, I've posted the commentary on this blog. I'm not good with living into anything. When I move into a new apartment, I hang up pictures before the weekend is out. I like drawer dividers for cutlery and utensils. I make checklists. I count things constantly. I'm notorious for writing pre-vacation to-do lists a week in advance. Living in just hasn't been a practice of mine. Yet I want it to be...or think it has to be...or I'm just scared of committing and am looking for an out.

I am scared. Of losing weight. Of not losing weight. What happens when I get to "the end" of this journey (once I figure out what that end is). I'm afraid that I'll put on the weight again. I'm afraid I'll not be satisfied. That I'll realize how much I lost out on time and energy being fat and weighing in.

Mostly, I am afraid that if I set this goal that I won't make it. I don't want to fail on this. And yet, here I am, stalled. Feeling slightly addicted to sugar and hesitant. 8 lbs to my first major goal of160. 20lbs to the "final" at 148lbs. I think I'm not going to be happy until I hit 100lbs lost. I worry that it's crazy to say that. It shouldn't be about number of pounds lost, right? Am I thinking too much again?

I also want this to be over. I'm tired of counting points and going to WW meetings. 20lbs. Another 10-20 weeks. If I keep losing at the rate I am currently, closer to 20 weeks. 5 more months. That's a mid-January 2010 finish. Still 4 months before the wedding. Doable. Very doable.

So what to do? At work last week I tried to keep the motto- "do good enough" (not well enough because that's too grammatically correct!). Do good enough. How does that translate to WW? Tracking. Eating within my points range. Exercising. Going to the meetings. I can manage that.

Do good enough. Early bed. Early exercise. Good...enough.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An addendum

I also did weigh in and lose .6lbs last night. So, I'm at 168lbs. See why an 8lb loss would be a nice round number for the Lose For Good campaign?!

How bad do I want it?

That's a darned good question. One I've been working through in my head all night. Apparently I don't want it badly enough to get up and run at 5:30am. This morning when my alarm went off at 5:20am I groaned, viewed the way-too-early-in-the-a.m. darkness, and hid under my pillow until 6:40am. Read: no morning workout.

I planned for the Tuesday a.m. workout on Monday. I stayed late at work Monday night so I could go in later this morning. I imagined a 6:45am wake-up, 7am run, 7:35am dog walk, shoer, breakfast, go. What happened? We received an emergency water pipe replacement notice last night when we arrived home at 8:30pm. No water running on 9/1 (today) between 7am-7pm. All showers must be complete by 7am. Well damn. Hence my lame attempt to rise at 5:30am while knowing I hate early morning exercise. Really, I'm no good at regular mornings.

So now I must leave work early enough to run before the first dinner date of the week (to which I'll have to go to sweaty). I'll take my gear to work, which will help and stop in JP on the way home to run around the lake. Good plan. The dog has the dog park today so I'm not as stressed about her getting a walk this evening- we'll play soccer instead.

With that conundrum solved, back to the first question. How bad do I want it? I want to hit goal. Which, we know I'm not sure the number of as yet. 150? 160? Whatever. Though it's tricky to drive toward nothing. But, I do want it. I want this to be the end to my WW losing career. I want to fit into my HOT wedding dress a little better. I want to lose 100lbs from my 248.6lb beginnings. I want to stop paying $40/month for meetings. I want my goal eight and maintenance key ring charms darn it.

So in the next 7 weeks, despite the most intense work and social schedules I've had in a while (read at least 2 BBQs, out-of-town friend dinner, a NYC trip, and long work days) I want to make a significant loss for the Lose For Good campaign. I'd like to hit an 8lb loss, my wise wise partner is encouraging me to shoot for 5lbs. So, the goal is a definite 5lbs off- 8lbs and I'll be ecstatic!

Now to pack for work-running gear, food, water. Go!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Me= no good at time management

That statement is not completely true. I'm great a time management in my job. Just no good at "me" management. Perhaps this is what this blog is about- a lesson in fallibility. And I am nothing if not fallible.

On the weight front I'm doing well. I'm now 168.6lbs, 27.4lbs lighter than when I recommitted to WW in January and 80lbs lighter when I weighed in January 2005 at 248.6lbs. 80lbs- that's a journey.

The longer I do this and the easier it becomes to maintain rather than lose, I question where this journey is going to end. My impulse is to ask myself, "What should my goal weight be?" But, as I recently read in WW magazine, "shoulds" often lead to self-blame and stress. I'm familiar with that pattern.

At my job: "I should work a 60-hour week...and like it" or "I should do this requested training- even though it's on my only weekend off" or "I shouldn't barter for a 4-day work week even though I'm not getting paid the work I do"

At home: "I should clean the dishes before bed. Even though I cooked dinner...which my roommate enjoyed but hasn't lifted a finger for days to clean-up" or "I should take the dog out now, but I have to work on my bills and balance my chequebook. And it's already 9pm (because I left work late again)"

With WW: "I should go for a run. I have a headache and haven't eaten, but I should" or "I shouldn't eat this brownie. I've exercised and have weekly points left, but really if I were a better person I wouldn't."

Yes. Stress. And a negative Nellie outlook. A co-worker commented yesterday on my sun-kissed smiles and laughter at work. "I like this laughter. I loved the way you were right before your vacation. Happy and funny." Subtext: usually I'm not smiling and laughing at work. Case in point: today. I tried to stick my ground and not add to my already 10-hour Wednesday and 13-hour Thursday schedule this week. A contracted evaluator wanted to set up a "last minute" meeting for this week or next (I'm booked through September already). I've had multiple conversations with this evaluator's boss that I can't do last minute, but that's beside the point. I tried to compromise and threw out times...she didn't bite. And just as I was about to give up my day-off, she caved.

And I felt like a bitch. Because I hadn't caved. I should've caved. I should've realised how hard her job was and changed around all my meetings to fit her schedule. I should not have gotten pissed off. I should not have let my employee see me negatively standing my ground. Aka- being queen "my schedule is worse than yours."

This caused me naught but stress and anxiety for at least two hours. And shame. And guilt. I felt my body change: my heartbeat quickened, my face flushed. I wanted to scream. Then cry. And it made me think about weight loss.

I was standing my ground to protect my already overbooked schedule and preserve my sanity. I was working on compromise but was protective of my little "me time". My "me time" is set-up to help with this work-life balance piece. The piece that recognizes that I am important and need time to sleep, or blog, or make-out with my fiancee. The piece that needs time to grocery shop and read a book. Write creatively. Write- period. Listen to music. Get away. The piece of time where I get to relax. Forget work. Lessen stress.

And in trying to protect this time I increased my stress load for the day. Research indicates that stress is linked to increased cortisol production and higher incidence of weight gain. And with weight gain comes negative health outcomes. Whether I understand the research, I know that with stress comes a need to de-stress and to a recovering bulimic that often equals food. Or, on a good day, exercise. But the bad days, the food-bingeing days, lead to weight gain. And that leads to more stress, to food, to weight gain, etc. I have more "okay let's exercise to reduce this stress" days. Hell, this June, I trained an competed in a 7.5miler (and was a solid finisher in the pack). But still, stress is there. And sometimes it's connected to chocolate or chips n' salsa. So, is my job making me fat?

Well no. I'm losing weight. But it's not making it easier. And, most of all, my work "shoulds" and stresses are making me think more deeply about this weight goal question.

The article I read suggested that if we replace the "should" with "want"or "need" then stress levels and self-blame decrease. "I want my goal weight to be...." or "I need my goal weight to be..." According to WW, my goal weight needs to be under 150lbs. That's been my lowest adult weight- reached only in high school after months of fasting and exercising. I was a size 6-8 and looked hot. I don't want to be that person again. This "need" still feels a little stressful. But does that mean I don't want to be that weight again?

I want a weight that's easy to maintain. That I'm proud of. That I feel sexy at. I don't want to stress about weight maintenance. I want to enjoy food and drink like the foodie I am. And still be healthy. I want to end this journey. I want to be successful. I want to look hot on my wedding day next May- and be able to breathe in that corset. I want to wear a size medium in Victoria's Secret bikini panties.

So what goal weight do I want to be? I don't know yet- at least not the number. But perhaps when I start to wonder about the "shoulds" and even the "needs" to be regarding a goal weight, I can revisit these wants to gain perspective. My goal weight may end up being 150lbs...or not. I guess we'll see along the way.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's a snowy sunday...

...and snowy Sundays lend themselves to a few must-do activities in my household:
1. shoveling
2. baking
3. cleaning the house
4. more shoveling

Sadly, snowy Sundays often lead to other activites, such as chasing my VERY naughty dog around the neighborhood as she romps in the snow, blatantly ignores and runs away from me, and almost commits suicide in front of numerous diligent Boston snow ploughs.

The not so great things that came out of the hell-dog chasing were:
1. numb fingers (I was gloveless and in PJ pants)
2. anger
3. taking that anger out on my dog
4. physically and verbally reincarnating my mum as I verbally laid into my dog and put her on her bed
5. did I mention lingering anger that's sat in my stomach all day (even through a super relaxing shower, sweeping and mopping all the floors, dishwashing, reading a book, and more sweeping)

In fact, the only decent thing that has come of that chasing escapade is that I burned off a few more points and so treated myself to a brunch of 1 whole wheat bluberry muffin AND 1 whole wheat raspberry muffin. And only for 8 points. Thankfully, I'd baked them before she decided to escape from my future sis-in-law.

And because they're so good and only 4 points each, I'm sharing the recipe (adapted from a recipe found at Michigan

Berry Streusel Muffins (Makes 18 medium muffins)

For the muffins:
1/4 lb butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (sifted)
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups light (or fat-free) sour cream
2 cups berries (I like to split the batter and make one batch with 1 cup frozen blueberries and one batch with 1 cup frozen raspberries)

For the streusel topping:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp oats
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter (softened)

To make muffins:
1. Combine all ingredients (except sour cream and berries) in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer (or KitchenAide if you have one) to create a thick batter. Do not overmix.
2. Stir in sour cream with a wooden spoon.
3. If you are making a 1/2 blueberry and 1/2 raspberry recipe, divide the mixture into 2 separate bowls. Add in 1 cup berries to each bowl of batter.
4. Spoon 1 large dessert spoon of mix into muffin pans (either line pans with muffin cups or spray with non-stick cooking spray)

To make streusel topping:
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Mix with a pastry cutter or small whisk.
3. Top off each muffin with approx. 1 tsp of streusel.

Bake at 375degrees Farenheit for 20-25 minutes or until atoothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

Outcome: Each muffin =4-point YUMMY!

It's amazing how much writing calms me down. I feel my stomach anger-knot undoing as I type and you read this. Fantastic.

Back to scullery-maiding. Still have more dishes and countertops to do.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Weekends throughout my young adult life have traditionally been marked by two nights & days of no-holes-barred behavior. It's the time of the week when I get to kick back and do all those things I can't get to during the work week- like napping, or hiking, taking my dog to the snowy arboretum (which we did today for a lovely walk off-leash), or shopping (when I have cash or an insatiable desire to burn dollars on credit).

All of these things aren't too bad for you (okay, shopping on credit is quesitonable)...but my no-holes-barred attitude on weekends also extends to food and drink. Yup. You guessed it- I'm a weekend binge-monger. It's the time of the week for nachos and beer at the local pub with a group of friends. For warm home-baked muffins, right out of the oven on a Sunday morning. It's glasses of red wine with cheese and crackers while cooking on a Saturday night. Splurging on a Starbucks grande non-fat mocha.

I had a no-holes-barred night last night. Red wine flowed freely from the bottle to the glass and from the glass to my lips. Glass after glass. I dined on uncontrolled portions of penne with shrimp in a white/wine tomato-heavy cream sauce. Followed up with chocolates (4 Hershey kisses, 1 Ferrero Rocher) and a caramel brownie bowl. I was uncontrollable.

In retrospect, it was a lot of calories, but not as terrible of a day as I used to have. But in the middle of it, I acted, ate, and drank with abandon. I felt like bingeing. I did binge. And I didn't try to record or think about WW or points (until this morning when I did go back and count everything. I know, I'm an overachiever by nature. I feel guilty when a task is incomplete or just shoddy work, and that includes WW journaling).

So what was it about last night? That I was at the end of my monthly menstrual-hell and craving all those sweet, salty, and alcoholic "bad" things? That I was falling into old weekender habits? That I was pretending to be "normal" and not a WW follower?

I don't know the reasoning for the behavior, but I do know that this morning my internal reaction to thinking about my Friday night foodmongering was, "Fuck." PAUSE. "I have 3 days until weigh-in." PAUSE. Groan. "Fuck."

And so today I've been on-target. But I'm still wondering- how am I going to enjoy my Saturday night without going over points? How will I feel like I'm living and taking advantage of my weekend if I can't eat and drink what I want? How will I relax?

Crazy? Well, it's my crazy-normal life right now. And how I anticipate it'll be for a while- at least while I kick these pounds and this program.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

First week weigh-in complete...

and 4lbs gone. Hurrah!

What was all that worrying for? Though I expect I'll feel similarly concerned and pressured for a few weeks to come until I get used to the rhythm of weigh-ins again. I got to share the trick that worked for me last week: lots of "macks" (meal-snacks, or small meal portions) dispersed throughout the day and using the hunger chart (at least for the first few days). Both kept me in tune with what my body needed rather than simply what my brain desired.

And, I told my mum I joined up, which was a big debate for me. We've had a long shaky history with weight and weight-loss together. Starting with WW when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I used to think she loved me more when I was thinner- now I wonder if she feels successful as a mother and so loves herself a little more when I'm thinner. Whatever the case, I sometimes feel a little pressure (that has led down the path to bulimia on more than one occasion before) when discussing body/health/weight with mum. But, I'm giving us both a chance and we've set up parameters to only check-in once a week about it. I don't like to hide things from her, so I hope this makes it less stressful for me on that front.

Then I wrapped up my evening by coming home to freshly-cooked Roasted Winter Vegetable Lasagne, a la my honey. I'd worked out points for it in the morning so was easily able to direct her in dishing me up a slice that I enjoyed with a glass of white wine and followed-up with decaf tea and a truffle. Yum!

Tonight is my first book club night- I already know that there'll be cookies and brownies. But, I'm going prepared with hummus and carrots, my dinner (Oaxaca Tortilla with Black Bean Stew, Salsa & Sour Cream- yummy!), and enough points for 1 Brownie or I have an emergency 1 point WW Dark Chocolate Raspberry bar with me if I need to use my brownie points later on today for a snack. And, I've worked out already so feel great- have decided that am workouts are the best (though most mornings I'll have to get up earlier than today as I don't usually start my work day this late).

Anyhow, need to do the dishes before work. Till later.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holidays are certainly joyous

And I enjoyed my winter holiday (to Long Island, then Georgia, and topped off in New Hampshire) very much. Too much perhaps if we're talking about my waistline. I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted it, and it resulted in a significant expansion of my waistline. Up to 196lbs.

So like other friends and family members around me. While Christmas passes, I am determined to keep up that "Tis' the season" attitude. Though, as the holiday season is passing, I have found myself stepping into another.

Tis' this season to join Weight Watchers.

Yes that's right folks. Weight Watchers. Despite all my protestations in earlier blogs (all 3 of them) that I need not set foot in a meeting, I joined up. And last Monday night, with 30 other people, embarked on that cattle-drive known as Momentum. Gotta love marketing companies and their fancy slogans.

Momentum. I've had it this week. I've counted and tracked and made "better" decisions. Discussed point options with my partner and written down point(s)-per-serving size portions in her recipe books. I've exercised at 5:45am (Preface: I never get up before 7am if I don't have to), chosen to walk through unshoveled snowstorm-wracked streets to my fiancee's birthday brunch (where I ordered a veggie omelet- that I extracted a lot of cheese from, demanded no toast, then barely touched the homefries), and been excited about shoveling my driveway post-brunch.

And now I'm scared.

Scared that tomorrow the scale will fail me. That I'll fail myself. That the momentum of this week won't translate into weight loss.

This is why I didn't want to sign-up for a meeting. Because if I walk in there and it's not on the scale, I've failed. Done something wrong. And I'm accountable. To the scale. To the person weighing me in. To the leader. To every other first week person I met last Monday. To the room full of WWers trying to lose weight with Momentum.

So tomorrow, I have to promise to eat as usual. I know starving doesn't help anyone. But, I know I'll want to close my eyes when I step on that scale. At 7pm, cross your fingers and hope that it doesn't berate me with bad numbers- I've been enjoying this momentum.